Big Basin State Park – 3:20pm, 73 mi
All I could think about was the fire.. If I just made it there, everything would be ok. I saw the smoke from the store and went straight there. A rider who followed me asked where we go next, and I could barely talk to say the route went straight but I was going in to warm up. I’m not sure anything actually came out of my mouth.
I dismounted my bike, felt immediate pain in my back which seemed to have seized into a bent over position on the descent and went into the store.
So much pain. I couldn’t stand straight but there was nowhere to sit. The shivers came on so strongly shaking me all over as the water dripped off my clothes. My legs were randomly cramping up again. I just couldn’t move.
Another rider came in and we soon discovered that there was an open fire. It was down a set of stairs but I couldn’t move to get down there. I somehow willed myself to straighten out and stair-by-stair got down to the fire. Some people were sitting in a sofa in front of it, so I tried to stand off to the side. I couldn’t yet work my fingers to get my helmet off!
They saw what terrible shape I was in and encouraged me to stand in front of them. Oh sweet relief. The shopkeeper came over and gave us some towels and offered to put our clothes in the dryer (I wish I’d taken her up on that!)
Instead we stood in front of the fire for about half an hour, slowly unbending, shivering slowing and stopping and feeling returning. So much steam coming off our clothes!
ZT came in not too long after I arrived. I realized he was probably waiting for me outside somewhere but I was powerless to move to find him. Fortunately, he found me!
The store served hot chocolate, coffee and hot dogs.. I figured a warm drink would help recovery and I definitely needed to eat. So good.
It was hard to imagine leaving and going back out into the cold! But eventually, when our gloves were dry-ish, and bodies warm we decided to head out. We talked about the possibilities for shortcuts (such as going straight down Hwy 9 to Santa Cruz). ZT was adamant that he was going up Jamison Creek Rd and completing the route. I talked myself into it since we would be climbing out of Big Basin, so it should warm up, and my legs were feeling quite good now that they were warm.
So, with some trepidation, we ventured out into the cold and started riding. The cold air hit with a shock, making it hard to breathe! Crazy.
We had picked up another rider at the fire who couldn’t decide what to do from here but mostly wanted to ride with company. He had a road bike and his brake pads were almost gone.
Actually, that was an interesting side story of the day – nearly everyone had brake issues. While beginning the ride out of Big Basin, I realized that my rear brake was gone. ZT’s front brake, a more serious situation, was gone. Nearly everyone suffered wearing right through of their pads. I guess it was the rain and mud!
The climb out of Big Basin doesn’t begin nearly soon enough so our new friend, clearly a very strong roadie, powered ahead to get warm. Once the climb began, I tested my legs trying to stay with ZT. The cramping was completely gone, but they were definitely weary. Jamison was going to hurt!
At the top of the climb, we had a fast descent down 236 to the final rest stop.